This section provides an overview of labs directly operated by the DOD. These comprise the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL; which also serves as an Engineering Center, covered in the next section), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Army Research Institute, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL). Note that while Army and Naval Engineering Centers (operated separately from ARL and NRL) are technically considered labs, we cover those organizations under the next section.

  • Work typically ranges from basic scientific principles to the earliest stages of applied research (typically TRLs 1-6)
  • Labs typically fund universities, as well as some companies engaged in early-stage research and technology development
  • Staff are focused on pushing the boundaries of technology, so will want to understand how you can help them achieve that
  • Be prepared to get into technical details and present technical credentials and knowledge of state-of-the-art across the relevant technical field
  • Do not send BD staff to lead these meetings; they can attend but should play a secondary role at the most
  • Expect to meet with technical experts who oversee cutting-edge (“extramural”) research conducted by several universities and possibly some industry members
  • Labs also conduct their own (“intramural”) research where the work is performed by government staff; they will be sizing up your work compared to their own
  • Many lab staff will be focused on the work itself and less aware of transition pathways
  • However, there will be some individuals in each office with connections to their transition partners, which are typically at the Engineering Centers
  • Sometimes these POCs can help you get a foot in the door with the Engineering Centers, which typically offer larger increments of funding
  • Lab technology transition offices can also help with these connections
  • Funding increases as technology matures
  • Labs are focused on the earliest stages of research, from basic scientific principles to the earliest stages of applied research (typically TRLs 1-6)